I Think I Messed Up What Would You Do?

  • Thread starter lisab
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In summary: I'd guess, that he had to bear the brunt of it - as a child would have.In summary, the conversation was about a witness account of a young couple having an argument, where the woman was behaving erratically and trying to kick the man. The observer initially hesitated to intervene due to her own gender stereotype, but later realized that the situation could have been reversed and she would have taken action. The conversation also touched on the issue of domestic violence and discrimination against men in such cases. The conversation ended with a discussion about maturity and how some people never seem to grow out of childish behavior.
  • #1
lisab
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I witnessed something today that revealed a gender stereotype in me. I'd like to know what PFers think about it.

I was home in my apartment -- I live on the third story on a street that leads to a park. Today was beautiful and there was quite a bit of traffic going to the park, both cars and pedestrians. My windows were open despite the increased traffic noise.

I heard a commotion outside. It was a young couple having an argument. The woman was pushing a stroller with a kid who was maybe a year old. She was having a complete meltdown, a world-class temper tantrum. Her shrieking escalated, but the young man did nothing but stand there.

I kept watching, feeling guilty about it, but it was like watching a train wreck. This woman was nuts!

Eventually she tried to kick him! I couldn't believe it! He would evade, but he did not try to get away or strike back, or try to stop her. She made several attempts, but never got him. It went on for a while, until she eventually calmed down and they moved on together.

I went back to what I was doing (dishes ), thinking about them. Mostly I was feeling so very sorry for the kid in the stroller :frown:, being raised in that sad situation.

Suddenly I realized, what if their genders had been switched? If I had seen a male trying to kick a woman, I would have called the police! I was really embarrassed to realize I had this bias. Intellectually I know domestic abuse can go in both directions, and both are absolutely wrong. But as I saw it happen - a woman attacking a man - I didn't think to report it.

What would you have done?
 
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  • #2
Interesting.

I would have likely done the same as you. I would have stereotyped the guy into the "he must have done something deserving" category and ignored the situation. In hindsight, if it did go on for a great deal of time the best thing to do would have probably been to call the police.

I mean, suppose she is a horrible person. Let's forget for a moment that they (presumably) have a child. A witness account of domestic violence against him could help him in the future, say, in court or something. Since men are largely discriminated against in such cases.

Of course, I'm probably wrong too.
 
  • #3
QuarkCharmer said:
Interesting.

I would have likely done the same as you. I would have stereotyped the guy into the "he must have done something deserving" category and ignored the situation.

Is it that or the perception that she doesn't pose a credible threat?

I would tend to default to the no-threat position unless there was clear evidence otherwise. But what would concern me, after a moment of thought, is the well being of the child, not the husband.
 
  • #4
lisab, it's hard to know exactly what to do in such situations, or if and when to get involved. Even if the police had been called, chances are the couple would have left the scene.

Don't fret about it.


In grad school, there was troubled couple living next door.

One night, the woman came running out of the apartment screaming followed by the man who was chasing her while carrying their child. I simply yelled at the point where I thought they was going to strike the woman. He paused and told me to mind my own business, and the woman was acting nutty.

At least they calmed down, such that I felt the child was not endangered.
 
  • #5
QuarkCharmer said:
Interesting.

I would have likely done the same as you. I would have stereotyped the guy into the "he must have done something deserving" category and ignored the situation. In hindsight, if it did go on for a great deal of time the best thing to do would have probably been to call the police.

I mean, suppose she is a horrible person. Let's forget for a moment that they (presumably) have a child. A witness account of domestic violence against him could help him in the future, say, in court or something. Since men are largely discriminated against in such cases.

Of course, I'm probably wrong too.

I wasn't thinking that maybe he deserved it, at all. I was just amazed at watching this woman, supposedly an adult (albeit a young one), have a tantrum like a 3-year-old.

I might add, *nothing* he could have done would warrant a physical attack.
 
  • #6
At no time did I feel the child was in danger, physically. Sadly, the child was the furthest thing from the minds of either of them :frown:.

Of course, being raised by people with the maturity of children can't be good.
 
  • #7
lisab said:
I wasn't thinking that maybe he deserved it, at all. I was just amazed at watching this woman, supposedly an adult (albeit a young one), have a tantrum like a 3-year-old.
I've seen adults - both male and female - have tantrums and behave like children (2 yr olds). Some people never mature.

A few years ago, there were two guys going at each other on the side walk below my office, and some time before that, two women going at each in the street, although a police officer just happened along in the middle of that.
 
  • #8
lisab said:
Eventually she tried to kick him! I couldn't believe it! He would evade, but he did not try to get away or strike back, or try to stop her. She made several attempts, but never got him. It went on for a while, until she eventually calmed down and they moved on together.
It sounds to me like it was obvious, even from your vantage point, that the guy had the situation in-hand - that he was aware he was not threatened in any way he wasn't able to handle. He didn't run away, he simply side-stepped. In other words, the situation presented in a way that made it fairly clear intervention was not required.

True, I have a hard time imagining the roles reversed - watching a man try to assault a woman and the woman feeling no threat. But the point remains - it's not a gender difference at issue - it's an assessment of real threat.
 
  • #9
DaveC426913 said:
It sounds to me like it was obvious, even from your vantage point, that the guy had the situation in-hand - that he was aware he was not threatened in any way he wasn't able to handle. He didn't run away, he simply side-stepped. In other words, the situation presented in a way that made it fairly clear intervention was not required.

True, I have a hard time imagining the roles reversed - watching a man try to assault a woman and the woman feeling no threat. But the point remains - it's not a gender difference at issue - it's an assessment of real threat.

That's a really good point. I never felt he was physically threatened.
 
  • #10
lisab said:
I witnessed something today that revealed a gender stereotype in me. I'd like to know what PFers think about it.

I was home in my apartment -- I live on the third story on a street that leads to a park. Today was beautiful and there was quite a bit of traffic going to the park, both cars and pedestrians. My windows were open despite the increased traffic noise.

I heard a commotion outside. It was a young couple having an argument. The woman was pushing a stroller with a kid who was maybe a year old. She was having a complete meltdown, a world-class temper tantrum. Her shrieking escalated, but the young man did nothing but stand there.

I kept watching, feeling guilty about it, but it was like watching a train wreck. This woman was nuts!

Eventually she tried to kick him! I couldn't believe it! He would evade, but he did not try to get away or strike back, or try to stop her. She made several attempts, but never got him. It went on for a while, until she eventually calmed down and they moved on together.

I went back to what I was doing (dishes ), thinking about them. Mostly I was feeling so very sorry for the kid in the stroller :frown:, being raised in that sad situation.

Suddenly I realized, what if their genders had been switched? If I had seen a male trying to kick a woman, I would have called the police! I was really embarrassed to realize I had this bias. Intellectually I know domestic abuse can go in both directions, and both are absolutely wrong. But as I saw it happen - a woman attacking a man - I didn't think to report it.

What would you have done?
That's a tough one. Well, as you noted, the kid didn't appear to be in danger, and the guy was just evading, so I suppose I would have done what you did.

And then worried over it. As you did. :smile:

Regarding the gender reversal consideration ... yeah, I think that would be more alarming to most anybody -- because guys are generally bigger and stronger and have the potential to inflict much more physical damage.

Witnessing that sort of situation (with the male throwing the tantrum), then I would, as I suppose you would, probably call the police to diffuse it. Of course, I'm an elderly guy, so I might first have scurried down to the street to try to diffuse the situation, being nice to everybody and explaining that I was just concerned.

Anyway, the important thing is that you're concerned and I'm sure would have done whatever you could if the situation warranted it. So, no need for you to feel the least bit guilty, imho.
 
  • #11
lisab said:
I witnessed something today that revealed a gender stereotype in me. I'd like to know what PFers think about it.

I was home in my apartment -- I live on the third story on a street that leads to a park. Today was beautiful and there was quite a bit of traffic going to the park, both cars and pedestrians. My windows were open despite the increased traffic noise.

I heard a commotion outside. It was a young couple having an argument. The woman was pushing a stroller with a kid who was maybe a year old. She was having a complete meltdown, a world-class temper tantrum. Her shrieking escalated, but the young man did nothing but stand there.

I kept watching, feeling guilty about it, but it was like watching a train wreck. This woman was nuts!

Eventually she tried to kick him! I couldn't believe it! He would evade, but he did not try to get away or strike back, or try to stop her. She made several attempts, but never got him. It went on for a while, until she eventually calmed down and they moved on together.

I went back to what I was doing (dishes ), thinking about them. Mostly I was feeling so very sorry for the kid in the stroller :frown:, being raised in that sad situation.

Suddenly I realized, what if their genders had been switched? If I had seen a male trying to kick a woman, I would have called the police! I was really embarrassed to realize I had this bias. Intellectually I know domestic abuse can go in both directions, and both are absolutely wrong. But as I saw it happen - a woman attacking a man - I didn't think to report it.

What would you have done?

Hey lisab.

To be honest I wouldn't be too hard on yourself for thinking you are biased, because we all biased in some way and all biases will be judged in terms of 'positive' and 'negative'.

One thing that you have done that many do not do is that you have acknowledged your bias. Just doing this one thing alone is the catalyst for getting people not only aware of others but of themselves.

It's interesting though the kind of bias you have said because it turns out that some of the more deceptive folk use this in situations to create a scenario that has been so distorted as to imply a situation that is a total polar opposite of the reality.

As an example if you go to say a place like Italy in the southern part which has more poverty, you might find yourself in a situation where someone throws you a baby and while you are trying desperately to not only catch it but to make sense of the gravity of what just happened, another person has run off with your purse.

Now the thing that really agravates these situations comes from the social norms we are either indoctrinated into by our schools or education system or by our parents and associated community.

It's important to acknowledge this also because this contributes to our biases and if we have been taught all our life that is something is right/wrong or otherwise contradictory or contrary to our own belief, then this is an agonizing situation for anyone to be in this situation.

It's akin to believing something for whatever reason and then being told that it was all a lie and that is a hard thing to go through. Think of the situation where a mother is told that their son has been a serial killer for ten years: they just don't want to believe it especially if nothing has been done to hint the idea that this is happening.

The beauty of this world is that we get to experience all of this and put it in perspective, but to do this you need to acknowledge an alternative viewpoint and unfortunately not many people do this.
 
  • #12
Lisab, I doubt that I would have done anything. However, my thought was that if the woman is acting out violently in a public setting [or any setting for that matter], she clearly has control problems and could be an unfit or even a dangerous mother. A visit from family services probably would be a good idea.
 
  • #13
Well, maybe that's because we think men arephysically stronger than women and are able to fend themselves.:rolleyes:
 
  • #14
If I see a woman who hits her male partner, I think that he's in no danger and if he became sick of the "abuse" he could just leave the relationship.

If I see a man who hits his female partner, I think her mental and physical health are in danger, and she could possibly be intimidated and scared to leave the relationship.

Men can take care of themselves.
 
  • #15
From his actions, it seems that he has dealt with this before. Some people love drama. It would be interesting to know what the screaming was about. Maybe her Starbucks was out of grande cups?
 
  • #16
leroyjenkens said:
Men can take care of themselves.

That *is* biased thinking. Abuse of the male partner in relationships happens, too (and is quite likely underreported compared to abuse of females for exactly that reason).
 
  • #17
I agree with DaveC426913, and on both points.
 
  • #18
leroyjenkens said:
If I see a woman who hits her male partner, I think that he's in no danger and if he became sick of the "abuse" he could just leave the relationship.

If I see a man who hits his female partner, I think her mental and physical health are in danger, and she could possibly be intimidated and scared to leave the relationship.

Men can take care of themselves.

I m just a little guy, I weighed myself this morning, only 150!

I'm like girl sized.

Good thing I'm a man though, so I can take [care] of myself. :rolleyes:
 
Last edited:
  • #19
nitsuj said:
I m just a little guy, I weighed myself this morning, only 150!

I'm like girl sized.

Good thing I'm a man though, so I can take of myself.

I'm a man, and I could probably get my *** whooped by another man, and probably plenty of women as well. I think your logic is a bit faulty in regards to "man = able to take care of himself"
 
  • #20
SHISHKABOB said:
I'm a man, and I could probably get my *** whooped by another man, and probably plenty of women as well. I think your logic is a bit faulty in regards to "man = able to take care of himself"

I agree.

It's true that men are generally larger and stronger than women, but that does *not* mean it's OK for a woman to hit a man.
 
  • #21
SHISHKABOB said:
I'm a man, and I could probably get my *** whooped by another man, and probably plenty of women as well. I think your logic is a bit faulty in regards to "man = able to take care of himself"

Hmmm, yes well that too was my point quoting someone who said the same.

To highlight the poor reasoning that a man is able to take care of them self in domestic disputes were the female is dominate.

"take care of them self" in this case of domestic dispute implies that dudes are always bigger and have no concern.

I am pointing out that there are small dudes & big chicks there.

It's not issue of size when it comes to domestic disputes, it is issue of aggressiveness.

I could also near guarantee you that there are domestic abuse situations where the male is physically smaller than the female, but is more aggressive & abusive.

I should follow up those comments with "rolleyes" to indicate the sarcasm.

I'll update the post if I can.
 
  • #22
nitsuj said:
Hmmm, yes well that too was my point quoting someone who said the same.

To highlight the poor reasoning that a man is able to take care of them self in domestic disputes were the female is dominate.

"take care of them self" in this case of domestic dispute implies that dudes are always bigger and have no concern.

I am pointing out that there are small dudes & big chicks there.

It's not issue of size when it comes to domestic disputes, it is issue of aggressiveness.

I could also near guarantee you that there are domestic abuse situations where the male is physically smaller than the female, but is more aggressive & abusive.

I should follow up those comments with "rolleyes" to indicate the sarcasm.

I'll update the post if I can.

ah yes, the rolling eyes helps clear that up :)
 
  • #23
It sounds like you listened to your instincts and got it right. I am also not sure why "biased" is used in a negative context here.
 
  • #24
IMP said:
I am also not sure why "biased" is used in a negative context here.
Well, because by definition, having a bias means making a judgement based on factors other than the facts before you. Namely, sexism.
 
  • #25
Ivan Seeking said:
Is it that or the perception that she doesn't pose a credible threat?

I would tend to default to the no-threat position unless there was clear evidence otherwise.
The "she doesn't pose a credible threat" explanation was the first thing that came to mind when I read Lisa's account of the incident.
 
  • #26
Some posted a tv news bit on another forum regarding this sort of situation and the general response of strangers.

The tv people had two actors, male and female, go to a park where they had hidden video cameras. First the male actor acted out as a controlling abusive partner towards the female actor who sat by, head down, dealing with his abuse. People walking by were aghast. Several people pulled out cell phones presumably to call the police. Some people even approached the couple and shouted at the male. One guy even tried running him off and looked ready to beat him up.

Next the female played controlling abusive partner while the male sat by head down. Several people walking by smiled and laughed. Some few even shouted encouragement to the female. Only one person (a female) walked up to the couple, told the female she should be ashamed of herself, and asked the man if he was alright or needed help.
 
  • #27
TheStatutoryApe said:
Some posted a tv news bit on another forum regarding this sort of situation and the general response of strangers.

The tv people had two actors, male and female, go to a park where they had hidden video cameras. First the male actor acted out as a controlling abusive partner towards the female actor who sat by, head down, dealing with his abuse. People walking by were aghast. Several people pulled out cell phones presumably to call the police. Some people even approached the couple and shouted at the male. One guy even tried running him off and looked ready to beat him up.

Next the female played controlling abusive partner while the male sat by head down. Several people walking by smiled and laughed. Some few even shouted encouragement to the female. Only one person (a female) walked up to the couple, told the female she should be ashamed of herself, and asked the man if he was alright or needed help.

I wonder how convincing the actors were.
I suspect it's easier for a male to be convincingly threatening and abusive than it is for a female.
The question is how credible and accurate the perceived threat is, and how much is mistakenly interpreted from a gender role point of view.

I remember a time when a guy was lying down on the floor in a public place, presumably in some kind of medical trouble.
But another guy was standing close by, probably his friend, who did nothing.
Somehow, it didn't feel as if he was in trouble at all.
Not surprisingly, shortly after, he sat up and wondered loudly that he was surprised that no one tried to help him.
 
  • #28
basil, I don't think I would have done anything either, unless I could determine the identities of the "adults". Then I would have notified child protective services and had those parents evaluated. If one of the "adults" appeared to be in danger of harm, I would probably have tried to intervene and calm things down.

Dangerous, though. A very close friend of mine is a former police chief, and though his force could be stretched thin at times, he would try to send two cops to a domestic disturbance instead of one because in his experience his officers were far more likely to be attacked when responding to DDs than when responding to a bar-brawl. For whatever reason, his officers could often subdue the aggressor and end up being attacked by the person who had been beaten while taking the aggressor into custody. Sad state of affairs.
 
  • #29
leroyjenkens said:
If I see a woman who hits her male partner, I think that he's in no danger and if he became sick of the "abuse" he could just leave the relationship.

If I see a man who hits his female partner, I think her mental and physical health are in danger, and she could possibly be intimidated and scared to leave the relationship.

Men can take care of themselves.

You're totally right, a man being abused by his female partner (who he should be more powerful than) isn't going to harm his mental health in any way.Too many girls go about with the idea that they can attack men without any kind of repercussions because they feel that they're pretected by the force field of 'im a girl'.
 
  • #30
I like Serena said:
I wonder how convincing the actors were.
I suspect it's easier for a male to be convincingly threatening and abusive than it is for a female.
The question is how credible and accurate the perceived threat is, and how much is mistakenly interpreted from a gender role point of view.

I remember a time when a guy was lying down on the floor in a public place, presumably in some kind of medical trouble.
But another guy was standing close by, probably his friend, who did nothing.
Somehow, it didn't feel as if he was in trouble at all.
Not surprisingly, shortly after, he sat up and wondered loudly that he was surprised that no one tried to help him.
It is part of the problem that people base their opinions upon societal bias regarding perceived threat in gender roles. A female can be just as dangerous as a male yet we consider females to generally be gentle and safe to be around unless they possesses masculine qualities and we consider males to be potentially dangerous unless they are effeminate. Any person can just as easily pick up a knife one day, or a gun, or run someone over with a car. The man in the experiment never struck the female yet he was considered a clear and present danger to her because he was a man. The female struck the male multiple times but was not considered a serious threat by anyone because she was female. What we see right now going on between two people in a public place is highly unlikely to be any immediate threat. Both persons are more likely to find a more convenient and private location to do any real damage to their partner. Both persons have indicated a clear potential for doing violence to their partner. That one is theoretically more capable of hurting the other right now is irrelevant. Even in consideration of the male we don't concern our selves with the fact the he is not actually hurting her right now, only that he is acting in a fashion that indicates he may well hurt her later if he isn't doing so right now. Tonight at home either victim can just as easily wind up with their fingers slammed in a door, a coffee mug thrown at their head, or a knife being waved in their face.
 
  • #31
genericusrnme said:
You're totally right, a man being abused by his female partner (who he should be more powerful than) isn't going to harm his mental health in any way.

Because of course being emotionally abused by your partner is not very likely. The man isn't going to be depressed because the woman he apparently loves is treating him like crap. He isn't going to be shamed and humiliated by her smacking him about in public and people sniggering about it. And if it does bother him then well he oughta suck it up and be a man and probably deserves the treatment if he's going to be a sniveling baby about it right?
 
  • #32
TheStatutoryApe said:
Because of course being emotionally abused by your partner is not very likely. The man isn't going to be depressed because the woman he apparently loves is treating him like crap. He isn't going to be shamed and humiliated by her smacking him about in public and people sniggering about it. And if it does bother him then well he oughta suck it up and be a man and probably deserves the treatment if he's going to be a sniveling baby about it right?

Exactly!
 
  • #33
genericusrnme said:
Exactly!
Statutory Ape was being sarcastic, in response to your (hopefully sarcastic) reply to leroy.

Just in case members think you guys are serious.
 
  • #34
Evo said:
Statutory Ape was being sarcastic, in response to your (hopefully sarcastic) reply to leroy.

Just in case members think you guys are serious.

this is why we have the rolling eyes emoticon, I think ^^
 

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